What does Giardia look like in dogs
Giardia in dogs and cats
Highly infectious diarrheal disease
The animals become infected with "Giardia duodenalis", the most common species worldwide, through faeces, contaminated food or drinking water and through contact with sick animals, for example by licking them. One gram of feces can contain up to 10 million infectious cysts. Just 10 cysts are enough for an infection.
After ingestion, the cysts dissolve in the intestine and release two active trophozoites, these attach to the cells of the mucous membrane in the small intestine and multiply there by dividing into two. The intestinal epithelium is mechanically damaged and the absorption of nutrients from the chyme is disturbed. This means that the infected animals lose weight even though they eat well. In the end arm, cysts then arise from the trophozoites again.
Typical symptoms in sick puppies and young animals are recurring diarrhea with pale, slimy, foul-smelling faeces, possibly with blood. Vomiting is rare. Acute illnesses can heal after a week. Chronic courses can, however, drag on for months and require a strict hygiene plan.
Adult animals often show no clinical symptoms, but excrete cysts and pose a risk of infection for other animals and humans. Giardiosis belongs to the so-called zoonoses, i.e. those diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
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